The Chicago Bears are back in action on Sunday afternoon after their bye week to take on the 12-1 Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field.
Currently holding onto the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bears will most likely lose again this week as the Eagles should overpower them on the lakefront.
But solely losing doesn’t guarantee the Bears will walk out of Week 15 still in possession of that top-three selection. They will need some help across the league. Oh, and climbing back up to the second pick this week is also on the table.
Best Case / Worst Case
Here’s a quick cheat sheet on the Bears’ best and worst case scenarios this week.
Best Case, 2nd Overall: Bears loss + Broncos win
Worst case, 6th Overall: Bears win + Rams loss + Saints loss + Cardinals loss/Broncos win
With so many scenarios at play, here’s your Week 15 Bears rooting guide!
Root for: Denver Broncos
Shame on the Denver Broncos for not completing the comeback last week against the Chiefs. That loss catapulted them over the Bears for the second-overall pick. But the Broncos have a chance to make things right as they are set to take on the 4-9 Arizona Cardinals this week.
Just like last week, the Broncos’ game is the one worth paying the most attention to. If Denver beats the Cardinals and the Bears lose to the Eagles, the Bears will jump back ahead and back into the second slot.
The Cardinals lost Kyler Murray to a knee injury on Monday night, and it will be quarterback Colt McCoy at the wheel on Sunday for Arizona. He will have a tough go against a Broncos’ defense that picked off Patrick Mahomes three times last week.
Denver opened the week as 2.5-point favorites.
If the Broncos want to win — a reminder, that the Seahawks own their pick and Denver doesn’t have much motivation to “tank” — they will need to lean on their stifling defense to take advantage of a backup quarterback.
This is even more important as the Broncos may have to play their own backup, Brett Rypien, as Russell Wilson exited last week with a head injury.
Denver has the fourth-stingiest defense, only allowing 18.3 points per game. With McCoy at quarterback, the Cardinals average 16.7 points per game. Although, that average does jump up a little bit to 18.5 in McCoy’s starts.
Expect a low-scoring game in this one. The Bears are just hoping it’s the Broncos that end up on top when all is said and done.
Root for: Los Angeles Rams
The 4-9 LA Rams are currently a game behind the Chicago Bears after their big win last week on Thursday night. Again … thank you, Baker Mayfield. This week, they will face the (5-8) Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field on Monday night.
Another win by Mayfield and his new team would widen the gap if the Bears also lose their game. And if the Bears somehow, someway pull off the upset, a Rams win will retain the Bears’ one-game advantage.
And yes, a Bears win over the Eagles plus a Rams’ loss does mean that draft pick (owned by Detroit) would be ahead of Chicago’s, pushing the Bears down to fourth overall (if the Broncos also lose).
It appears that the Rams will need some of that “Mayfield Magic” this week as they are +7-point underdogs on the road against Aaron Rodgers’ team.
After losing five straight at one point, the Packers are winners of two of their last four, beating the Bears and Cowboys while losing to the Titans and Eagles.
The Packers are also healthier coming off their bye as rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs is set to return after missing the last four games. On defense, Darnell Savage, who got hurt a few weeks ago, is also back.
The Rams’ best chance to beat the Packers is to take advantage of Green Bay’s porous run defense that allows the third-most rushing yards per game (154.8). But that’s easier said than done as the Rams haven’t been able to run the ball well this season, averaging the third-fewest rushing yards per game (84.5).
And don’t forget, just like the Broncos, the Rams don’t have much incentive to “tank” as their pick is owned by the Lions.
Root for: New Orleans Saints
Just like the Rams, the 4-9 New Orleans Saints enter Week 15 a game behind the Bears. Luckily, they have a winnable game against their divisional foe, the 5-8 Atlanta Falcons.
Implications of this game are similar to the Rams’ as a Saints’ victory will most likely push them further behind the Bears, bettering Chicago’s chances of retaining a top-3 pick at the end of the year.
But a Saints’ loss with a Bears’ win and losses from the Rams and Broncos would drop the Bears all the way down to the fifth-overall pick at the end of the week.
New Orleans is currently a 4.5-point home favorite, despite losing two-straight games. They beat the Falcons by one point (27-26) earlier this year on the road in the season-opener and are 3-4 at home.
These teams should be fighting for a win as they’re both mathematically in contention for the NFC South title. The Saints will get their first look at rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder, who is set to make his first-ever start on Sunday.
The Saints have the 11th-best passing attack in the league (233ypg) and should be able to move the ball through the air against the Falcons’ pass defense that allows the sixth-most passing yards per game (251).
Still, Ridder is a wildcard, and it will be interesting to see if he injects life into a Falcons’ offense that is middle-of-the-road scoring (22.2ppg) and near the bottom of the league in passing (31st – 155ypg).
Root for: Indianapolis Colts
This one is for safe measure as the 4-8-1 Indianapolis Colts currently sit 1.5 games behind the Bears. Would it be difficult for them to catch up and jump the Bears in the draft order? Yes. But still, why take chances?
The bad news is that they have what should be a difficult matchup against the 10-3 Minnesota Vikings, who are fresh off a disappointing loss to the Detroit Lions.
Sure, the Vikings are beatable. The Lions proved that last week. But the Colts are coming off a 19-54 loss to the Cowboys.
The Colts look destined to lose another, and that’s fine. Rooting for the Colts is just extra precautionary.
Root for: Houston Texans
Leave it to the Texans to squander what looked to be a massive upset over the Dallas Cowboys in the game’s final minutes last week. If they had pulled it out, the Bears would currently be in real contention for the first overall pick. Nevertheless, an outside shot still remains.
This week, the 1-11-1 Texans have another challenging matchup as they’ll go up against the 10-3 Kansas City Chiefs.
If anything, the fact that they almost took down Dak and the Cowboys should only further instill some “hope” that they can win the two games needed the rest of the way to give the Bears a chance at the first overall pick.
After this week, there will be just three more chances as they’ll face the Titans, Jaguars and Colts.